16 Aug 2018 17:24

OSCE mission in Moldova says officials barred from monitoring Russian drills in Transdniestria

CHISINAU. Aug 16 (Interfax) - The Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) mission in Moldova said it is concerned about military exercises the Operational Group of Russian Forces conducted in the Security Zone in Transdniestria on August 14 and 15.

"The OSCE Mission deployed its team to the area of the Security Zone on 14 and 15 August, but the team was obstructed from fully monitoring the exercises," the mission said in a statement on Thursday.

"In compliance with the Principles of Co-operation between the Joint Control Commission (JCC) and the OSCE Mission to Moldova from 2004, the Mission shared its observations with all the delegations to the JCC through the established channels," it said.

"According to the Agreement on Principles of a Peaceful Settlement of the Armed Conflict in the Transdniestrian Region of the Republic of Moldova from 21 July 1992, military exercises in the Security Zone are required to be authorized by the JCC, which was not done in this instance," it said.

The OSCE Mission once again urged "all parties involved in the fulfilment of the 1992 Agreement on Principles of a Peaceful Settlement to fully respect its provisions and the regime of the Security Zone, as well as the relevant JCC decisions and regulations. This is in the interest of all parties."

During the exercises the Operational Group of Russian Forces conducted on August 14 and 15, about 50 drivers of armored personnel carriers and armored reconnaissance vehicles practiced crossing the Dniester River. They practiced U-turns, evading various obstacles such as sunken trees, reaching designated points on the opposite bank, and other maneuvers.

The Moldovan government's Reintegration Bureau described the military drills in the Security Zone as "provocative actions."